Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Who are you going to believe? Me, or a bunch of terrorists?

See, that's what it all comes down to. When criticism comes, you can always say something assinine like this:

WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush on Tuesday slammed as “absurd” an Amnesty International report’s allegation that his administration had set up an international “gulag” outside legal control.

“It is an absurd report. It just is,” Bush told a news conference, asked about the report by the London-based human rights watchdog which referred to “a new (US) gulag of prisons around the world beyond the reach of the law and decency.”
Bush stressed that “the United States is a country that promotes freedom around the world. When there’s accusations made about certain actions by our people, they’re fully investigated in a transparent way.”

“It’s just an absurd allegation. In terms of, you know, the detainees, we’ve had thousands of people detained. We’ve investigated every single complaint against the detainees,” Bush said.

The US president added: “It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the word of and the allegations by people that were held in detention, people who hate America, people that have been trained in some instances to disassemble, that means not tell the truth.”

Well, if they didn't hate America before, we're certainly working on getting the job done.

Oh, and by the way:

disassemble : take apart, as in: It was easy to disassemble the clock, but it wasn't so easy to put it back together again.

dissemble : disguise or conceal the real nature of, as in: "I'd rather be honest about my shortcomings than dissemble or pretend to be something I'm not. "

But what is more irritating than Bush's malapropism here is that the Rove-O-Matic is already spinning this in such a way as to show Amnesty as a partisan organization rather than one that looks to maintain the rights of all humans. A look on some of the righty blogs show that already, Amnesty is seen not as an organization with human interests at heart, but one with a partisan agenda.

From RedState.org:
To put it more forthrightly, the perspective of the leadership of Amnesty International is so whacked and so skewed that it's credibility as a human rights organization is in mortal peril.

A comment on the Free Republic:
Wasn't it reported today that the President of Amnesty International is a woman who is subject to AlQaida discipline? ~ something like that ~ "W" should turn this on them by having them picked up and dispatched, under guard, to Guantanamo.
A comment on LGF:
Amnesty International is populated by bleeding heart, naive, INFIDELS. Taqiyya is the practice of lying to said infidels as expressly commanded by Koranic law. So would it be surprising that radical Muslims coordinate their lies and foist them on a bunch of infidels? Of course not, and frankly the Muslim world has yet to establish a track record of trustworthiness in matters like this.

Just chip away until the credibility is in reasonable doubt. Keep calling her a slut and maybe she wasn't really raped.

Tuesday Lists- Stolen Edition

OK, so after a debauched weekend and remembering that although today feels like Monday, it's really just a clever imposter, I decided that I don't have any good list ideas. So, here are some that I stole from the good folks over at McSweeneys. They are better at this than me:


- - - -

"Are you a magic feather? Because my heart just grew a tail, and flew away."

"If you were a warp tube, I'd be in you all day."

"Are you a magic mushroom? Because you are making me grow."

"Are you a magic flower? Because you are burning me up."

"I'd rather ride you than Yoshi any day."

"If Princess Toad looked liked you, I would have killed Bowser years ago."

"If I had the choice, I would gladly spend my 100 coins on you instead of on an extra life."

"You don't have to turn on a game to play with me."

"They don't call me Super for nothing."


- - - -

The hostess never hints that she'd really like it if I went to law school.

The busboy is always very polite about denying my requests for money.

The waiter never hits me, pulls my hair, or tells on me for things I never did.

The manager never cheats on my dad.

The dishwashers don't like it when I hug them goodbye.


- - - -

Waiter at Olive Garden
"You're gonna eat lightnin' and you're gonna crap thunder!"

Docent at the Museum of Natural History
"You ever fought a dinosaur, kid?"

Pornographic-Film Director
"Now remember I want 500 hard ones. Go!"

Funeral Director
"I think that people die sometimes when they don't wanna live no more."

Volunteer at Local Soup Kitchen
"I'm running a business here, not a soup kitchen."

"Down! Down! Stay down!"

Stock Boy at Payless ShoeSource
"Women weaken legs!"

Assistant Manager at KFC
"I want you to chase this little chicken."

Salesman at Sleep Country USA
"Don't lay down like this! Like, uh, I don't know, like some kind of mongrel or something."

Wake-up Caller at Holiday Inn
"Get up, you son of a bitch! 'Cause Mickey loves you!"

Friday, May 27, 2005

Friday Vacation Pic Blogging- Iowa Edition

Rocket and Lady do their best to recreate the "hallway scene" in "The Shining."

Rocket is the one that bucked me off at my graduation party.

So long, LoMo.

Okay, so after coming home and discovering that yet another misogynistic pickup truck (this one decorated with a huge decal of the head and naked breasts of Betty Boop over the words "got milk?") had moved into our apartment complex, I decided it was time to move on. Not just moving within Longmont, not moving to Boulder, but moving ON . . . to Denver.

The truck really wasn't the straw that broke the camel's back, it has been a long six months since the time that I thought I was leaving the old hometown. But being the yuppie in my apartment complex (because I still have all my teeth and don't decorate my vehicle with body parts), living across the street from an actual farm (honest! There are cows and horses and everything!) and living in a town that is welcoming a new WalMart SuperCenter with open arms while local businesses flounder has finally driven me to decide that a change was needed. That and the fact that we got a not-so-polite notice from our landlady that basically said we had two weeks to make a decision on whether or not we were going to renew the lease. As for me, the answer is no.

So I'll have to get up earlier. So I'll have to commute (or take the RTD bus . . . I've done it before). So I'll be alone in the big city. I'm 23. There's only a small amount of time that one gets to make these kinds of decisions without upsetting the lives of others. So I'm going for it.

So . . . anyone know of anyone who is leaving their lavish, rent-controlled Cheeseman Park apartment in August?

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Have a few hours to spare?

Go here.

Apparently, Alien Loves Predator and they live together in NYC. So you have a lovely mix of scifi geek humor, New York humor and action figures using the f-bomb.

An instant classic. Thanks, Kung Fu Monkey.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Mike Reagan very nearly explodes

Betrayed by a Gang of Seven

Making Sense, By Michael Reagan

Betrayal! But it's not what you think . . .

"We have sent President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and the radical right of the Republican party an undeniable message . . . the abuse of power will not be tolerated."

That was Democrat Minority Leader Harry Reid chortling over his party having once again put one over on the stupid party.

Yeah, stoopid poopy pants party and their stupid adherence to Constitutional tradition. Stupid. How dare Harry Reid chortle over that! Stupid Harry Reid.

Seven so-called Republicans signed an idiot’s compromise over the matter of judicial nominations, agreeing to defy the White House and their own leadership and for all intents and purposes give the Democrats a license to continue obstructing the approval of the president’s judicial nominees.

Cue Napoleon Dynamite: *ID*iot!

And Mike- they didn't give the Democrats license to continue anything, they just didn't take anything away.

Make no mistake about it – this deal is nothing less than an abject surrender made more humiliating by its impudent demand that the President consult with the Senate BEFORE submitting his judicial nominations to the Senate.

Yeah, you have the White House, the Senate AND the House, and you still can't get what you want without changing the rules. That must be a bitch. Besides, the compromise means your side still get Prissy McLoopypants and Janice "Daughter of Sharecroppers (as if that means anything)" Brown. So . . . tell me again how this is a "surrender?"

According to the surrender document, “We encourage the Executive branch of government to consult with members of the Senate, both Democratic and Republican, prior to submitting a judicial nomination to the Senate for consideration.”

[Cheap Trick] Mommy's alright, Daddy's alright, they just seem a little weeeeeird . . . [/Cheap Trick]

In other words, in addition to shamefully legitimizing the Democrats’ unprecedented use of the filibuster to prevent nominees from being given their constitutional right to be given an up-or-down vote, the deal attempts to rewrite the Constitution by seeking to meddle with the president’s right to be the sole judge of whom he will nominate for judicial appointments.

And we would have had the nuclear option, too, if it hadn't been for you meddling kids!

Unprecedented. Huh.

Does anyone else imagine Mikey getting all frothy like Wallace Shawn in "A Princess Bride" here? You know, where he thinks he's put one over on the Dread Pirate Roberts and goes off about how you should never start a land war in Asia?

If you listen to the seven deserters indulging in self-congratulation over their betrayal of the voters who made the GOP the majority party in the Senate, the deal was a victory for all Americans. But if you want to know who really won in this disgusting episode listen to Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, who boasted that her group was "heartened that the crisis has been averted and the right to filibuster preserved for upcoming Supreme Court nominations. We are confident that a Supreme Court nominee who won't even state a position on Roe v. Wade is the kind of 'extraordinary circumstance' this deal envisions."

Deserters. There's an interesting word choice.

Shame on them for portraying the (probably temporary) preservation of minority rights as a victory for democracy. Bastards. Seeing as how the so many American voters were all hot and bothered to get rid of the filibuster (all 26 percent of them) . . .

Time and again the Senate’s Democrat minority have demonstrated their willingness to employ the worst kind of skullduggery and outright lying and deception to obtain what they could not win from the voters, yet this gang of seven displayed a child’s naiveté in accepting as valid the minority’s trustworthiness and their promises to abide “upon mutual trust and confidence, related to pending and future judicial nominations in the 109th Congress.”

Just what is the best kind of skullduggery?

And considering that DeLay and Frist are behind the thrust to employ the nuclear option, I'd refrain from throwing the "outright lying and deception" stone at any glass houses.

Oh, those childlike seven, so seduced by the pied piper of minority trustworthiness, taken in by bubblegum and lollipops but only to find themselves suckered in by the spirit of mutual trust and confidence! The seamy nuances and trickery of a bipartisanship bait-and-switch!

Even more incomprehensible is the gang of seven’s reliance on the Democrats’ definition of the term “extraordinary circumstances,” not spelled out in the surrender document, which states: “Signatories will exercise their responsibilities under the Advice and Consent Clause of the United States Constitution in good faith. Nominees should only be filibustered under extraordinary circumstances, and each signatory must use his or her own discretion and judgment in determining whether such circumstances exist.”

Judgement! Discretion! How dare they?! This isn't Europe!

In other words, they will rely on the duplicitous Democrats to decide what constitutes “extraordinary circumstances,” which you can be certain they will define as relating to a nominee’s stand on abortion and the legitimacy of liberal judicial activism supplanting the legislative process and the will of the voters as expressed at the polls. You might just as well post a sign on the door of the Senate chamber stating “No conservatives need apply.”

Well, Yeah . . . no liberals either. That's what is supposed to be nice about the judicial branch. Checks and Balances and all that. But anyway . . .

The liberals’ real target is the probability of Supreme Court vacancies and the administration’s demonstrated tendency to nominate conservatives. By retaining the ability to filibuster, they plan to block any nominee to the high court who does not fit comfortably into the left-wing mold. Fortunately, the gang of seven was unable to surrender the ability of Senator Frist to employ the nuclear option should the Democrats attempt to deny the president’s Supreme Court nominees their right to up-or-down votes.

I like it when Mike thinks he's on to something. Moving on . . .

Finally, the GOP’s conservative majority needs to let the gang of seven know they will pay a very high price if they continue to play the Democrats’ game.

Yes, all you conservatives need to send letters to your deceitful, childlike and naive elected officials and let them know you are none too pleased that they would take candy from strangers.

Tuesday Lists

(not to step on Norbizness' toes here, but I would be willing to do Pat Robertson one better and say that these news items could be signs of the End Times.)

1. Jessica Simpson Puts On 'Boots'
Jessica Simpson has recorded the '60s Nancy Sinatra hit These Boots Are Made for Walkin.'

2. Tara Reid Hosting Wild On!
E! has tapped Tara Reid to be the new host of its series Wild On! Reid will travel to the world's most unusual and indulgent places. (Ed. note: I am of the opinion that Tara Reid is actually an android prototype. There are at least six of her and they don't know they're androids. And yes, they dream of electric sheep.)

3. Colin Farrell Delivers Eulogy
Colin Farrell paid tribute to his grandfather, delivering the eulogy of Jimmy Monaghan.

4. Kevin Costner And Ashton Kutcher Teamed
Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher have been cast in a new film project entitled The Guardian.(Ed. note: who's idea was this?)

5. David Arquette On MTV
David Arquette is playing a rodent in a pilot for an MTV show. (Ed. note: There's a reach.)

Which wire do I cut? THEY'RE BOTH BLUE!

OK, well, it looks like we're stuck with Priscilla Owen but get to keep the filibuster . . . for now.

We've cut the right wire, it seems, and have avoided destruction. Again, for now.

But can this really be called a victory? Let's have a look at Priscilla Owen for a second. From Salon, May 12:
Willie Searcy never got to meet Priscilla Owen. And that's unfortunate. Because as an associate justice on the Texas Supreme Court, Owen once exercised almost complete control over the fate of the working-class kid who always played above his weight on the local rec-league football team -- until the car accident that changed his life and crossed his path with Owen's. The account of Willie Searcy's experience with the Texas high court provides real insight into what sort of federal appeals court judge Owen will be if the Senate approves her lifetime nomination to the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. But Searcy's story has been largely overlooked.

Next week, Majority Leader Bill Frist may call up Owen's nomination for Senate consideration, a move expected to spark the long-awaited showdown over the so-called nuclear option. Owen's Democratic opponents, who have blocked her nomination since 2001, have been focused on her creative attempts to restrict abortion rights for minors in Texas. That also goes for the extreme Christian right, which considers Owen's "pro-life" record a justification for its campaign to persuade the Republican majority in the U.S. Senate to eliminate the filibuster rule and confirm Owen. Yet the case that pitted the skinny black kid from Dallas against Ford Motor Co. is as important as Owen's attempt to rewrite the law the Texas Legislature enacted to define a specific process by which minors could get abortions. (Not, as Owen held, to make such abortions almost impossible to obtain.)

Willie Searcy's trip to the Texas Supreme Court began in the rain on a Dallas freeway. He was 14 years old in April 1993 when a Mercury Cougar driven by a 17-year-old hydroplaned across the median and slammed into the Ford pickup driven by Willie's stepfather, Ken Miles. Miles' life was saved by the steering wheel, which absorbed some of the impact of the head-on collision. Willie's 12-year-old brother, Jermaine, was saved by a snug seatbelt that held him securely in the middle seat. Willie was not so fortunate. Just before the crash, he leaned forward to pick a piece of paper off the floor. The tension eliminator, which allows the seatbelt to spool out when a passenger leans forward, then retracts the slack and holds the belt in place when the passenger is sitting upright, apparently failed.

Willie Searcy had no broken bones. But the posterior ligaments that held his head in alignment with his spinal cord were torn and stretched. He would spend the rest of his life as a "ventilator-dependent quadriplegic." After being airlifted off the freeway, he spent three months in Methodist Hospital in Dallas and three more months in a private rehab facility. Within six months, Willie's mother Susan Miles and her husband Ken were looking at $550,000 in medical bills. The rest of their lives, in fact, would be defined by medical bills. Their teenage son would require full-time nursing care. He would have to be "coughed" by an attendant. His trachea tube would have to be regularly suctioned to allow a clear path for the ventilator to breathe for him. Every bodily function would be regulated or performed by a machine, relative, nurse, or attendant. It was far beyond what Ken, a parts clerk at a Ford dealership, or Susan, a medical records clerk, could expect from their healthcare coverage.

Willie's attorney, Jack Ayres, wanted to get the case to trial as fast as possible. He believed that a defective part with a history of failure had caused Willie's near-fatal impact with the dashboard, and he set out to sue Ford. Until the tort reform law that Gov. George W. Bush pushed through the Legislature in 1995, plaintiffs in Texas could file suit either where the cause of the lawsuit took place or in any county where the defendant did business. Ford would have preferred to defend itself in Dallas, where conservative judges and juries are friendlier to corporate defendants. Ayres filed in state district court in Henderson, a small East Texas town where there was a Ford dealership. The docket was shorter there, which ensured a faster trial date. The jury pool was probably more favorable to his client. And the state law allowed him a choice of forum.

"We were in a race to save this kid's life," Ayres said.

There's more, but you'll have to sit thru the British Airways ad on Salon to read it. Bottom line- I think even the appointment of people like Owen will fail to threaten Roe V. Wade (although the new notification laws, working in tandem with the whole "Culture of Life" semantics campaign will certainly limit abortion rights).

But that doesn't mean that they won't do damage- to our environment, to our litigation rights, to our basic civil liberties and to any remaining power the citizenry has against huge multinational corporations like Ford Motor Company. I don't like that Prissy will get confirmed. She sounds like another lousy Texas Justice type who consistently rules on the side of "white" and "money." But we're losing a couple of Supremes this term and like it or not, someone's got to take their place. I don't know if I'm ready to call the compromise a victory. But at least it's not a defeat.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Monsoon season

Here's what Longs Peak looks like now:

(click the pic for an updated view)

That ticking sound . . .

A roundup of opinions on the filibuster/nuclear option stuff (since I'm too disheartened and uninformed to form my own at this point. As a friend expressed to me this weekend, I'm getting tired of saying "They'll Never Do That!" only to see them do it anyway . . .):

Blogenlust is slightly optimistic:
It seems pretty clear that we're heading for a showdown on the Senate filibuster in the next two days. So far I think the Democrats have done a pretty good job mounting a defense against what I think is a fairly obvious power grab by the Republicans, and certainly the public seems to be on our side, which is a good position to be in going into the showdown.

Lindsay on the American Street wonders why the Nuclear Option's, oh, how you say, unconstitutional nature hasn't gotten more attention:
Even those who don’t support the judicial filibuster should repudiate the Republicans’ underhanded tactics. Like real-life nuclear brinksmanship, the Republican nuclear option is breathtakingly irresponsible. This isn’t just about a few extremist judges, or even about Supreme Court appointments. It’s not even about preserving whatever collegiality remains in current Senate. Thanks to the nuclear option, integrity of the Senate is at stake. If the nuclear attack is successful, it will establish the principle that whichever party holds the majority in the Senate can write and rewrite the rules to suit itself. The Republicans aren’t just trying to undermine the power of the minority. The so-called “constitutional option” is a ploy to unhinge Senate proceedings from precedent and procedure. The Republicans want to allow the majority to make up the rules as it goes along.

Talking Points Memo plays the semantics game: Let's call it "The Crybaby Option!"
As he puts it, "Oh, boo-hoo, we only got 95% of what we wanted so we're changing the rules. Waaaaah!"

Sort of like at a seven-year-old's birthday party where they want the parent to change the rules of Pin the Tail on the Donkey because they're not winning every time.

They really are babies. So call them on it.

WaPo gives some background, shows what could happen, and details the potential fallout of the nuclear option (Warning: informative but very, very boring. Think Freshman Civics.):
Fred Graham, who was chief counsel of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee during a classic filibuster during the 1960s and now is chief anchor and managing editor of the Court TV cable channel, said existing rules allow Republicans to accomplish what they have promised.

"If Bill Frist asks for a ruling from the chair from Dick Cheney, of course Cheney will rule in his favor," Graham said. "What are the Democrats going to do, appeal to the Supreme Court? There's no place for them to go. That's the power of the majority."

And finally, Luis comes to a grim conclusion on the attempts by the 12 "compromiser" Senators to come to a middle ground:
My prediction, for what it is worth: The compromise efforts will fail, several Republicans (including McCain) will vote against the nuclear option, but Frist will succeed, all of the controversial nominees will get confirmed, and we will see Harry Reid trot out his plans for surviving the Senate's nuclear winter.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Oh, Smithers. I would have said anything to get your stem cells.

This could get interesting.

WASHINGTON -- With Republican leaders preparing to allow a vote next week on a bill that would roll back President Bush's policy on human embryonic stem cell research, the President said today he would veto such legislation if it came to his desk.

The President said that he has made it clear to Congress that he opposes the use of federal money "to promote science which destroys life in order to save life."

"And therefore, if the bill does that, I will veto it," said Bush in response to a reporter's question.

Bush's comments were in response to news that South Korean scientists had overcome a major obstacle in producing human embryo clones for stem cell research.

"I worry about a world in which cloning becomes acceptable," Bush said.

What is interesting now is that you can see sort of a mild version of the Dark Ages happening here. While Eastern scientists, unfettered by Christian cult-of-life attitudes, are going to develop stem cell innovations beyond our wildest dreams, we're stuck with a preznit who probably hasn't cracked a biology book since eighth grade. Like when the Arabs were figuring out algebra and Europeans were freaking out, thinking Haley's Comet was a sign of the end times.

Remember American Innovation? That was cool. Mustangs, personal computers, the telephone, Polio Vaccine . . . and hey, then we invented outsourcing!

Now America is the George Steinbrenner of technology. If you have something that could be a big player on the market, we'll buy it. But it's not like we're going to train it up from the beginning.

Or maybe not. I'm fried- working on a column about Breed Specific Dog Legislation has got me feeling a little down.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

This just sucks so much . . .

Adding to my anger:

City News Newsstand announces plans to close
‘The people just aren’t coming downtown’
Tony Kindelspire
The Daily Times-Call
LONGMONT — Store manager Janet VanDam could read the writing on the wall. Brought in a year ago to try to turn business around at City News Newsstand, VanDam could only watch as it dwindled to the point that the owners have decided to close.
“I can’t believe you guys are closing,” one customer said at checkout Tuesday afternoon, echoing comments VanDam said she had been hearing all day, since a sign announcing the store’s closing sale had been painted on the front window that morning.
The store opened in Longmont in September 1972 and has been in its current location, the former Lutes Drug Store, since 1982. The 125-year-old building at 379 Main St. received local landmark designation status in 1983.
“The people just aren’t coming downtown,” said VanDam. “It’s surprising how many people come in and say ‘I didn’t know the store was here,’ or you tell somebody you’re the manager at City News and they look at you with a blank stare.”
VanDam said the owners of the store, Newsstand Solutions LLC, plan to shut the doors sometime next month, depending on how quickly the store’s inventory of books and the like sells out. Until it closes, the store will keep all magazines up to date, she said.
The decision to sell didn’t come lightly, VanDam said. Even before she was hired, she said, business had been falling off. Newsstand Solutions, which also owns City News Loveland and Woody’s Newsstand in Greeley, had considered remodeling the building as it did at its other stores, but decided it couldn’t justify the expense, given the Longmont location’s drop in business.
Woody’s in Greeley has been completely remodeled and now has a sandwich and coffee bar, and the Loveland store has added a coffee bar, VanDam said.
In a statement regarding the closing of the Longmont store, the owners said they are leaving open the option of reopening the store “pending the positive development of the Longmont downtown area.” Van Dam said that option comes from an agreement the owners of City News have worked out with the buildings’ owner, the John Duffey family of Fort Collins.
“If things change downtown, we could come back,” she said. “But right now it’s not feasible for us to stay open.”
Duffey, who opened City News in 1972 at 505 Main St., bought the building at 379 Main St. in 1982 and, following a four-month renovation, relocated his business there.
His predecessors at the location include the Lutes, who bought it in 1936 and ran a drugstore there for many years, and even James Cash (J.C.) Penney himself. Penney ran one of his department stores at the location until 1925, when he subletted it after buying the much larger building on the southeast corner of Fourth Avenue and Main Street.
The 379 Main St. location was part of the original Chicago Colony, and the first record of a building there — the same building housing City News today — was 1890.
Today, more than 3,000 titles line the store’s shelves. There’s a magazine for every hobby or interest imaginable, a walk-in humidor still occupies one corner, and Sunday papers from other states are always a popular draw, VanDam said.
The building’s tin ceilings and oak floors were exposed during the 1982 remodel, but there’s no question the interior today could use a touch-up. For many of City News ’ customers, however, the old-fashioned aspect of the place is undoubtedly part of its charm.
“It’s very nostalgic for a lot of people to walk into that type of store in that building,” said Mary Murphy-Bessler, executive director of the Longmont Downtown Development Authority.
She said she had learned of City News ’ closing Tuesday afternoon, and acknowledged that losing such a destination-type store downtown would be a hit.
“Especially during Art Walk,” said Murphy-Bessler. “It was funny — that was one of the most popular sites. People would always make their way down there during Art Walk.”
For this Friday’s Art Walk, VanDam said her store would allow two artists to display their work in the store’s windows, rather than the traditional one, “because I won’t be here for the rest of the year.
“We’ve always been involved in Art Walk and supporting the community. It’s kind of sad to see that go.”
Tony Kindelspire can be reached at 303-684-5291, or by e-mail at tkindelspire@times-call.com.

Hey, thanks WalMart! Thanks, Borders!

I discussed this in my column (please, bear with the cheesiness). The News Stand was one of the downtown stores I couldn't imagine going under. And there it goes.

It's like the canary in a coal mine . . .

Compromise, Schmompromise

Salazar: squishier than Go-Gurt on a hot day.

(The guy that wrote the Durango Herald article linked above is also a correspondent for our paper. Nice guy.)

The thing is, why should Democrats continue to compromise when Bush's idea of a compromise is that he gets his way and he decides NOT to punch you in the nads?

My frustration with Mr. Salazar grows. I know he's new at this, but his stance on the whole filibuster idea is sort of a sine curve of accommodation. Before his election, he expressed support for its removal. Then he stood up for its retention. Now he's somewhere in the middle.

In his latest stance, Salazar proposes a "showdown" process (gotta love those muy macho references to the old West mythos. Hey, Preznit Bush! I wear a cowboy hat, too! Let's talk hombre to hombre!). From the Coloradan:

Throughout Wednesday, lawmakers took to the floor in carefully choreographed order for speeches on two of President Bush's nominees that Democrats so far have blocked: Texas judge Priscilla Owen and California judge Janice Rogers Brown.

Behind the scenes, Salazar and moderates from both parties were in closed-door meetings around the Capitol, trying to fashion an agreement to confirm some of the judges while preserving Democrats' ability to filibuster others in exceptional cases.

"Senator Salazar has been in meetings for 13 of the last 24 hours," his spokesman, Cody Wertz, said Wednesday afternoon. "He went home last night pretty late, about 10 or 11. Today there was a 9 a.m. meeting."

The Republican ranks include Sens. John McCain of Arizona, John Warner of Virginia and Olympia Snowe of Maine. The Democratic participants include Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.

Early Wednesday, Salazar proposed a compromise that would require Democrats to stop their filibuster against all seven of Bush's pending judicial nominees and give them an up-or-down vote in the Senate. In exchange, under Salazar's compromise, Republicans would promise not to use a parliamentary move called the "nuclear option" to force Democrats to stop filibustering future court nominees, including any nominee for a potential Supreme Court vacancy.

I don't like that Salazar has put himself in the company of such blatant DINOS as Lieberman and Nelson.

And come on, we've seen just how much Bush cares to compromise on anything. I say we don't give an inch.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

A pack of lies, Moneypenny!

OK, I don't know much about this Galloway fellow, except that not too long ago NPR was saying he was implicated in a scandal involved with Oil for Food. But in watching the BBC today, I had to like the way he stuck it to Washington. Plus, he sounds like Sean Connery. A sampling:

"I know that standards have slipped over the last few years in Washington, but for a lawyer you are remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice," he told Senator Norm Coleman, the Republican subcommittee chairman."

[. . .]
He described the sub-committee's claims as the "mother of all smokescreens", intended to divert attention from the "crimes" committed in the invasion of Iraq.

"Senator, in everything I said about Iraq I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong - and 100,000 have paid with their lives, 1,600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies."

Who knows if he really took a deal in the Oil for Food program. I certainly don't. But it was fun watching him take American lawmakers to task.

El Gato Kennedy

According to Sitemeter, someone came by today and translated my site into Spanish. Which makes some of the cat names much more amusing:

2. Gato Kennedy
9. Tigre Loco Mama
10. Tipo Anaranjado Grande
11. Extremo Del Mono De Louie
13. Gato Del Palo
16. El General

And turns my catchphrase, "Shut up Fascist!" into the much more acerbic:
¡Cierre para arriba, fascista!


Tuesday Lists


1. Marilyn Monroe
2. Jack Kennedy
3. Izzie
4. Valentino
5. Caruso
6. Salvatore
7. Babs
8. Ma Barker
9. Crazy Tiger Mama
10. Big Orange Dude
11. Louie Monkey Butt
12. Madonna
13. Bat Cat
14. Sméagol
15. Guido
16. The General



1. Groaning Man
2. Woman with Pointy Cheekbones
3. Slapping Lady
4. Bipolar Lady Who Spits When She Talks
5. Overpoweringly Handsome Guy
6. Too-Much-Eyeshadow Lady
7. Always-Talks-In-Voice-Over Woman
8. Old Guy Who Uses Phony Accent

Monday, May 16, 2005

What's the Matter with Colorado Springs?

I have always, it seemed, had family who lived in the Springs, and yet the city itself had pretty much failed to make any kind of an impression on me. You know, when you are a kid, you visit certain places and things stick with you. From childhood trips to LA, I remember palm trees, tall buildings, perfect weather. Minneapolis makes me think of large-scale art projects, friendly people, icy winters. Albuquerque calls to mind the spicy, burnt smell of roasting chiles and the creepy but interesting spirituality of such an ancient place. But the Springs . . . all I really remembered from our visits to Colorado Springs is my annoying cousin and suburban sprawl. It could be like any other city, really. But in reading the latest edition of Harpers, I was reminded that CS is really very different from cities of its size. Talk to the fundamentalists, they'll tell you it's the chosen land. Talk to anyone else, they'll tell you it's a city with plenty of problems.

Colorado Springs is home to the New Life Church, which is described as "a non-denominational, Bible-believing, charismatic church." But what's more is that it is headed up by a certain "Pastor Ted," who is one of President Bush's many "spiritual advisors." They are not the biggest megachurch, but they are undoubtedly among the most powerful.

Of course, Focus on the Family makes its home in the Springs as well.

But for all of its fundamentalists, Colorado Springs is a town that can't quite figure out how to be a city. Like the greater Red State contingent, it seems that the Springs is a place where the faithful live among the fallen . . . but almost entirely without interaction.

Infoplease tells me that the overall crime "index" of Colorado Springs, a number taken from the reports of crime and compared with the population of a city, is actually higher than that of Los Angeles. It is also higher than Denver.

Aside from crime, the city has its share of problems within the domestic sphere- divorce rates there are 34% higher than the national average. Domestic violence- and deaths related to domestic violence- is on the rise in El Paso County as well.

Maybe all the big-church people are too busy focusing (or beating) on their families to do any community outreach programs. New Life's website does not reflect any programs to quell drug use (except among its own members) or gang affiliation. Focus on the Family commends the efforts of other groups to help the homeless, but has no soup kitchens of their own. Do a search on "gang" on the FOTF site and you'll find advice on keeping your own kid out of a gang, but no links to outreach programs that work with gang members.

The condition of Colorado Springs is testament to the fact that these mega-churches are largely inward-looking. The focus is on the individual, the family unit, taking care of one's own. Their sole initiative is their perpetuity. Which, considering the sheer size and influence of these groups, is a huge squandering of opportunity.

Friday, May 13, 2005

All grow'ds up

First column went out today, responses were mostly good, with one letter showing up in e-mail calling it "laughable," but so goes life in the somewhat public eye, I guess. It wasn't my best work, kind of just testing the waters. But hey, if you aren't making at least one person angry, what's the point, right?

By the by- I said "No" to Wisconsin, and to a tech writing job (again) for a while. I am 23 and allowed to be poor for a while longer . . . allowed to play around. Don't think I'm quite ready to sell out just yet. This is too much fun, anyway. I can live without designer jeans if it means I get to see my name in print on occasion.

In other news, how weird is this? I mean, if we really needed further evidence that Bush's madness has reached Caligula proportions, here it is. Sick thing is, Bush's constituency would totally go for the idea of bringing Bin Laden's melon home in a box. You see a lot of "Support our Troops" stickers next to "Terrorist Hunting Licenses" while traveling across Nebraska. These are people with absolutely no personal connection to 9/11 but nevertheless see the war on terror as a sort of all-out spectator sport. People who would probably have harbored antipathy toward the (mostly) liberal victims of the attacks, but still view the attacks as an affront to their personal beliefs.

The whole Jihadi-in-the-Box concept, working in conjunction with news of Bolton's bizarre sexual proclivities and DeLay's complete and utter lack of a soul makes me wonder just how long it will be before Bush takes out an extended fire policy on the White House and begins taking violin lessons.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

A telling look at Bill O'Reilly's Childhood

From the latest column:

Think back to when you were 6 years old. What was your world
like? Mine consisted of playing baseball, cowboys and Indians (I didn't know
from Native Americans), and watching a goofy guy named Howdy Doody on TV.
That filled much of my leisure time.

Uh, I think the whole Howdy Doody thing might have sparked young Billy's ambitions to become a yammering, ugly puppet. But let's see, when I was six, I enjoyed Jem and the Holograms and My Little Ponies, and watching Nova on PBS. But then, I was a weird kid.

In school, a glaring nun named Sister Lurana taught me to read
"Dick and Jane" stories. I had a book that said stuff like "look at Jane.
See Jane run. Dick likes Jane." It really didn't matter to me whether Dick
liked Jane or not, I wanted to climb a tree. But the nun insisted I learn to
read the book, so I did.

Ah, nuns forcing him to do things against his will. Sounds like the seeds of a very screwed-up attitude toward females, causing him to want to hide out in the local foliage rather than be administered to by overbearing, sexless women.

Today, in Lexington, Mass., 6-year-olds have another book. It is
called "Who's In a Family?" This book features not only Dick and Jane, but
also Jennifer and Lauren and Charles and Henry. The pages tell little kids
about different kinds of families: mixed race, gay and lesbian, and even
traditional family units. They are all discussed in very positive ways.

No, no! Anything but that!

A father named David Parker took one look at the same sex part
of the book and made an appointment to see the principal of the Estabrook
Elementary School, a woman named Joni Jay. Mr. Parker asked Ms. Jay to
inform him when the gay family stuff was going to be presented because he
felt his little son was too young to learn about homosexuality and he would
keep him home that day. Sounds reasonable, right?

I don't think "reasonable" is the word I'd use, but whatever.

Not so fast.

Dun dun DUN!

Ms. Jay informed Mr. Parker that the family book had nothing to
do with sexuality, and so he was not entitled under the Massachusetts sex-ed
law to get a heads up. When Mr. Parker pointed out that same sex situations
contain the word 'sex,' he was asked to leave the principal's office. He
refused. So the Lexington police arrested him on trespassing charges.

Uh, I'd imagine that a good number of children's textbooks include the word "sex," as does the form Dad had to fill out for the younger Parker when he registered him for school. But I'm just trying to imagine what Bill is leaving out when he says that Mr. Parker "refused" to leave the office. I'm betting it's assholery of the highest order.

See Dad get arrested. What does Jane think?

Well, if Jane's anything like me, Jane is thinking "HA ha!"

Very quietly all over the country, these kinds of culture war
expositions are being played out in assorted public school systems. Under
the banner of teaching tolerance, many school boards have OK'd books that
delve into social issues far beyond the comprehension of most 6-year-olds. I
don't know about you, but I thought gay meant happy until I was 11 years
old, and even then I could not have cared less whether Lenny and Squiggy
were a couple. I wanted to steal second and see monster movies, not
understand what happens in Key West.

Lenny and Squiggy? I don't think I wanna get into the pitcher/catcher dynamics of that one. But I also don't think Bill understands that "what happens in Key West" is not just about sex, but about love and relationships, relationships that are becoming more and more mainstream whether he likes it or not.

But today, we have a massive mission of indoctrination going on
in America, and millions of traditional parents don't like it. I am siding
with that group. I don't want to tell my little kids about "alternative
lifestyles" unless we're talking about the Munchkins in the "Wizard of Oz."

Uh . . . being small is an alternative lifestyle? Cool, then I can "choose" that lifestyle and get to order off the "12 and under" menu wherever I go! Seriously, what kind of meds is Bill on where he can't pick a metaphor to save his life? He probably doesn't even have any little kids, poor, deluded Bill (actually, a google search turned up the fact that he's 55, married to a 38-year-old woman, and has a 6 year old son and 1 year old daughter. I hope they raise Hell). And by the way? I think that the Wizard of Oz gave me more nightmares than anything my parents ever taught me about human sexuality (Which they did tell me. Early on and whenever I had a question.)

I think both Dick and Jane would agree that we should all back
off and give the kids a break. Let's bring back childhood in America, OK? No
more "diversity" books for kindergarteners. No more bare midriffs for
9-year-old girls. No more gold chains for boys going into third grade. Got
it? Let's work together on this.

Right. Keep kids in the dark about everything until they have learned it elsewhere. Keep them covered and unadorned (because God knows that gold jewelry on boys only leads to that troubling metrosexuality craze that is sweeping the nation, and midriffs will only tempt perverts like, well, Bill himself with impure thoughts). I don't know why he's chanelling so much emotion into Dick and Jane, because as far as I could tell from those books, they were pretty flat characters, with no development at all. They saw a lot of stuff, they ran a lot, but they never formulated higher moral viewpoints from which such conclusions could be drawn.

The world is a tough, nasty place, and children will learn that
soon enough. Shouldn't we make their first years fun years, free of
political and social agendas? Why do some little kids these days look like
Britney Spears and Kid Rock? What the deuce is wrong with us?

He he. He said "what the deuce." I want to hear him say it in a Stewie voice. And why can't tolerance and acceptance of others be "fun" and really, quite innocent if done in the right way?

Bill, I fail to see the connection between teaching children that families can encompass any group of loving individuals and the fact that some little kids "look like Britney Spears and Kid Rock." Furthermore, show me a six-year-old that looks like Kid Rock OR Britney Spears and I'll show you a very good reason to tighten regulations on releasing bovine hormones into ground water.

Summing up, Dick likes Jane and that's enough for 6-year-olds.
Larry and Bruce can wait a few years.

So, summing up, teaching children tolerance is just too damned complicated and should be put off. Once you start teaching children that it's OK to have a non-traditional family, they will bear their midriffs, overaccessorize, get breast implants and start claiming that they are "pimps" and not "whack MCs."

Clear? OK. Now Bill has to go tuck the kids in and make some lewd telephone calls to his interns, whilst reading Dick and Jane and fantasizing about the wild alternative lifestyles of munchkins.

The growing irrelevance of truth

Today I flipped from NPR to Air America (NPR is in the midst of one of those passive-aggressive pledge drives, and after their whole "Popeity pope pope pope!" extravaganza a few weeks back, my patience with their content has diminished considerably) just in time to hear a guy saying something to this effect:

It's not as though people have not been showing him the facts, because they have. It is just that if the facts don't mesh with policy, they don't come into play."

For a moment I wondered why Air America was talking about Michael Jackson.

But no, they were talking about Bush's environmental policy.

But this is a troubling thought, one that has come up again and again in the many questionable decisions this president has made. Facts are sought out, presented and subsequently ignored. There is nothing really surprising about this- facts abound to dispute Biblical doctrines, and yet people like Bush and his voters are perfectly willing to take that leap of faith to believe what is completely unfounded. I would argue that taking that leap is relatively harmless in private life. If someone wishes to believe that the world was created in 7 days, I suppose I don't have a problem with that. But as public policy, it is increasingly destructive. If the "theory" that the world was created in 7 days begins to be taught in public schools as truth, that is a problem.

The confusion of facts and doctrine is somewhat of a hallmark of this administration, and has become a trend among those who see themselves as "empowered" by Bush's reelection. This was covered well in Suskind's "Without a Doubt" piece in the context of Bush's decisionmaking process, but I think that a subtler form of the trend is manifesting itself in the electorate, one that deserves closer examination.

Try it- present any Bush voter you know with something that is known to be true: there were NO WMDs in Iraq. This is now an indisputable truth. They will find a way to deny it. Tell them that the human factor in global warming can no longer be denied- site all the studies you want. They will find a way to deny it. Tell them that DeLay is a corrupt liar. Tell them that the nation was built on secular terms. Tell them that Bush flew members of the Bin Laden family out of the country during the no-fly period immediately following the 9/11 attacks. Tell them that Iraq was in the works well before 9/11. All truths. But somehow, all deniable.

Karl Rove and his Ministry of Truth have somehow made it possible to deny everything. Without really saying so, they convinced some 64% of Americans that Saddam was behind 9/11.

But there is some hope- there are some things the American people just won't buy, no matter how much of their money Bush uses to try and sell it. The American People don't want to see the filibuster go away. They have the sense to know that the "Social Security Reform" idea is a crock and a giveaway to corporate interests. There is some hope . . . but the fact remains that there are some people who are so entrenched in the dogma of this administration that the sky is down and the grass is pink if Bush says so.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

There and back again

Hello all-
A little late for a Tuesday list but here are some things I learned on the road trip to and from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for my sister's graduation festivities:

1. Not only is there a porn barn on I-80, but the same company has created a new landmark 24-hour Adult Superstore in an old Stuckey's (you can totally tell it's an old Stuckey's, it has that silly arched roof and they just painted it yellow and black, which are apparently the best colors for a porn store catering to truckers). So now I-80 is home to the porn barn and the porn Stuckeys. Another name looking for a band . . .

2. The rest stops in Iowa are now equipped with wireless Internet. The Nebraska ones barely have operational plumbing.

3. Seat belt sunburns are not attractive. And SPF-15 is not enough to prevent one.

4. If you drive 100 miles through southwest Nebraska, your windshield will hit enough gnats, bees, dragonflies and butterflies to begin to resemble a Jackson Pollack-esque insect holocaust.

5. The Great Platte River Road Archway Monument has its own radio station.

6. Sharing a shisha with a group of college students is a pretty reliable way to get a cold.

7. This guy would have made a far better commencement speaker than this guy. Dyson gave the sermon at the baccaleureate service (which, despite the skin-crawly feeling that occurs when I participate in religious services, I did attend) but not the commencement adress. Opportunity missed, I think. Robinson gave a pretty tepid speech, which is a shame. Our commencement speaker was David Baugh, and he burned the place up, it was great.

8. Coe College is still a great place where great people go to learn . . . I miss it a lot. But like any place, it's never quite the same when you go back. Places are a bit like lovers and when you meet again you know that neither of you are quite the same as when you said goodbye.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Bike Blogging

Gonna be out of town for a while- the little sister is graduating. So here is a tranquil image of the Cruiser against a Colorado Sunset.

Feel free to use this calming image for meditation purposes.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Ann Coulter is dating. A democrat.

A Socialite's Life: Ann Coulter Archives

Things that are wrong with this:
1. Ann Coulter is dating a man.
2. Ann Coulter is dating a democrat.
3. Ann Coulter's democrat boyfriend is in his 20s.
4. Ann Coulter's democrat boyfriend is a country singer.

Ann Coulter is dating a 20-something democrat country singer.

Has the world gone topsy turvy?! What's next, will Lynne Cheney and Carson Kressley be seen together at Spago?

Tuesday lists


-Foot Model
. . . c'mon baby, smash up those grapes . . .

-Asian Teens- $40
. . . THIS doesn't sound lecherous at all . . .

. . . Hey, there's Cheetos on the floor! (dropping cheetos on the floor.)

-Gadget Freek Internet Survey
. . . Nah, you'll never find "Gadget Freeks" on the Internets.

. . .There's something very Silence of the Lambs about that one.

-Person Wanted
. . . How sad.

-Bandit sign distributor
. . . Lizzie! We found your true calling!

-someone to run a quick errand
. . . Eh. I don't feel like going to the Post Office. I know what I'll do!

-labor, do you have skills?
. . . Like numchuck skills, bowhunting skills, computer hacking skills? Because we only want laborers who have great skills.

Monday, May 02, 2005

On the semantics of "Real Americans"

Scary thought:

"Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), who is thought to be considering a presidential run . . ."

But also scary, in this little Yahoo news bit, is the fact that this happened:

Robertson, who launched a brief presidential bid in 1988, said that if he were president he would not appoint Muslims to serve in his Cabinet and that he was not in favor of Muslims serving as judges.

"They have said in the Koran there's a war against all the infidels," he said. "Do you want somebody like that sitting as a judge? I wouldn't."

And I heard NOTHING about it until just now.

I think that an unexplored facet of this administration is just how narrowly they define "Americans." Americans are NOT foreign-born, they are Christian, they are families, they are pro-military and they are white. If you look at the language of so much of the drivel that comes from the Right, it is clear that there are a hell of a lot of people that fall outside of their idea of "Americans." The whole "war on people of faith" phrase kind of illustrates this- people of faith are "Americans," while people of non-faith, or people percieved to be such, are the enemy. Americans in the heartland are painted as flatly and as two-dimensionally as American Gothic. The phrase "Real Americans" is implicitly defined as not just a white, Christian resident of a suburban area in a heartland state, but also as a right-leaning individual. This bulletin board shows just how closely the term "Real Americans" has been tied to any Bush supporter. This piece gets into more detail on this subject:

But the rules are different on the other side of the aisle. In today's politics, it is acceptable for Republicans to traffic in ugly stereotypes and assert outright that people who come from some areas of America are not really American. Some might remember the ad to which I referred, aired by the conservative Club for Growth, which said, "Howard Dean should take his tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, body-piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show back to Vermont, where it belongs." . . .

Vermont. Which is apparently not "America."

. . . And now George W. Bush has gone on the offensive against the Bay State. To hear him tell it, Massachusetts is not a state now on its fourth Republican governor in a row or one with one of the lowest tax burdens in the country, as the Boston Globe recently reported, but some sort of Sodom on the Bay, with 90% tax rates, mandatory Wicca ceremonies in public schools, and an anarcho-syndicalist majority in the state legislature. How could "real" Americans be expected to accept a candidate from such a place?

Bush is hardly the first Republican to use this attack; when the DNC decided to hold its convention in Boston, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey said, "If I were a Democrat, I suspect I'd feel a heck of a lot more comfortable in Boston than, say, America."

But as an American, I'm not only getting more frustrated with the narrowing and negative connotations of the label, I'm also getting peeved at the fact that my nationality . . . and my right to even inhabit this country . . . is called into question if I don't fit into a certain ideology.

Colorado weather: If you don't like it . . .wait five minutes and it will fuck with your head.

A lovely May Day in L-town:

And speaking of the hometown, I got "The Yellow Scene" in the mail the other day and hey, whaddya know, Longmont's got the biggest feature story. A dubious distinction, though, seeing as how it basically reams the city for fiddling with freedom of speech inre: the Ward Churchill/Glenn Spagnuolo issue. The Yellow Scene is a new local mag, a free one, and just barely out of its "'zine" stage, as in it is actually laid out and on glossy paper now. They still need a decent copy editor. Hmmmm.

What the entire issue can really be reduced to is this:

The March 22 council issue created another constitutional crisis by proposing a pair of changes to public assembly laws that appeared to tighten rules on determining when and if a public gathering is legal. As the city isn’t exactly swamped with massive protests or weekly parades, many wondered about the laws’ relevance. Only the Longmont Citizens for Justice & Democracy, who hold weekly anti-war demonstrations at the corner of 6th & Main, seemed to be targeted by the proposed code revisions. Nevertheless, even this story wouldn't have caused waves outside Longmont were it not for the simultaneous investigation of LCJD member Glenn Spagnuolo.

On March 3, Spagnuolo gave an interview in defense of CU’s Ward Churchill to AM talk show duo Caplis & Silverman. The hosts played clips of the professor’s most controversial speeches, including his oft-repeated “You’ve got a trigger-finger” reply to an activist’s query as to how one can effect political change. Spagnuolo emphasized his support of non-violence, but did acknowledge that he wouldn’t rule out violent protest in the face of government-sanctioned violence by the military and police forces. After much baiting by the two hosts, who taunted Spagnuolo to “Be a man, Glenn!” he eventually agreed with Churchill's claim that “all cops are criminals” and that by wearing a uniform “you make yourself a target.” Looking back on his statements, he says that he doesn’t apologize for anything he said, though he wishes he had been allowed to expand his answers.

Hooray for AM talk radio. Hooray for baiting people who believe in freedom of speech. Hooray for cornering activists.

The LCJD team protests are maybe six people, a couple of kids, three or four dogs and big signs. It makes my day every time I see them. To think that they might go away just because of the six-degrees-of-Ward-Churchill game is a pretty sad thought.